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Mueller State Park, Pikes Peak, and Denver, Colorado

September 10, 2010

The drive from Rocky Mountain NP down to Mueller State Park was stunning.  Highway 9 from Silverthorne, to Frisco, to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide, and ending in Fairplay follows the Blue River, which is really just a creek, through the mountains and is lovely.  I’d turn around and do it again if I didn’t have so much driving to do in the other direction.  All these communities look so vibrant and outdoors oriented.

Driving in and around the mountains and hills of the Rockies, some of you may realize having a gas engine instead of a diesel engine makes Dora more like the Little Engine That Could instead of one of those sleek ICE supertrains of Germany.  Bless her heart, she has not come close to giving up or even overheating, but floored, she goes about 20-30mph depending on the severity and length of incline.  She always get to the top, she  just has to take her time, much like me when I’m hiking.  This was the case heading up Hoosier Pass just south of Breckenridge.   Once at the top, we pulled over to take a breather, let the dogs poke around in the woods, and find a geocache.  When we got back to Dora and Lil’ Pea, they were surrounded by Bikers taking pictures, so of course we had to take pictures too.  Can you see Dora?

Since I was headed to Pikes Peak, I had looked up area campgrounds and found Mueller State Park, which is about a forty-five minutes west of Colorado Springs and about an hour and a half southwest of Denver.  As a result, it is full to capacity every weekend, which is why I could only stay one night having arrived on a Thursday.  What a nice Park and campground and at xxxxxxx elevation, I found even the simplest of activities taxing my lungs.

Here’s a shot of one of the views from the Campground in Mueller State Park.

The next morning it was time to find Pikes Peak.  The road leading to the top is a 19 mile ribbon of steep asphalt with plenty of switchbacks to keep a driver occupied.  No RV’s or trailers allowed, so I had to leave Dora behind.  Misty, Mosely, and I hoped into Lil”Pea and headed onward and upward.  Folks fearing heights might not like this drive too much as there is a ton of exposure and not too many guard rails.  We made it to the top after paying our $12 fee, took some pictures, avoided the giftshop, found the geocache, and headed back down, which was a lot trickier than driving up.  Urgent signs exclaiming “Use 1st or Low gear” and “Hot Brakes Fail” were helpfully placed at intervals on the way down.  And after 6 miles, there is a mandatory brake check.  I little man comes out of a booth with some sort of handheld brake checker and tells you if you may proceed or not.  I got a 205, which earned me a compliment on my use of low gear and was allowed to proceed.  We got safely to the bottom, hitched up, and were on our way to Denver….not to Limon, which is where we were supposed to be going.  You see, over the past many days, since before my visit to Rocky Mountain NP as a matter of fact, I have been trying to order and receive meds for Misty and Mosely.  What a mess, but I’ll spare you all the details and angst.  Suffice it to say that after much ado, I had to drive to a Fed Ex office in Denver through Friday afternoon traffic to get the package, which of course turned out not to have all the correct medications.  It did have the important ones, so that’s all good.

This is the sign at the beginning of the road up to Pikes Peak.  Did you know that Pikes Peak is also known as “America’s Mountain”?

And here is the sign at the Summit.  Unfortunately my other pictures taken up top seem to have disappeared.  I can’t say I’ve done a 14ner since I drove up, but my friend Devin has hiked the 12 mile trail to the top of this Summit.  What an avid mountaineer she is!  I wonder if she needed wind goggles and oxygen?

Finding myself on the outskirts of Denver at 7pm with a broken water pump, oh, did I forget to mention that when I went over a particularly bad bump near Pikes Peak, water drained by the gallon out of Dora’s fresh water tank and the water pump ceased to operate?  Yes, well, it did, adding greatly to the already happy day of tracking down pet meds all over the State of Colorado.  While waiting 3 hours for the driver with my package to return, the nice guys at the FedEx motor pool tried to help me with my pump, to no avail.  It must be replaced was the prognosis, so using my indispensible Garmin Nuvi, I looked up RV Service Centers and found Bernie’s, which was located about 127 miles East on I-70, the direction I was heading.  I called Bernie and made arrangements to meet him on the morrow, in the meantime, where was I to stay the night.  Back to the Nuvi I went and looked up, dare I say it?  Wal-Mart.

Bingo!  There was a Wal-mart Supercenter less than a mile from FedEx, so off I went for my first night in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

For those of you not in the know, most Wal-Marts around the country open their expansive parking lots to overnight guests such as RVers and Truckers etc.  I guess it’s a win/win since the drivers get a free place to stay, and Wal-Mart gets parking lot security as well as whatever each driver comes in and spends.  My free night at Wal-Mart cost me $82.

Tomorrow, its off to Bernie’s and on into Kansas, so stay tuned.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2010 9:43 pm

    Thank you for making me an avid mountaineer. No wind goggles needed; oxygen the ould’ve been helpful. I loved my time in Colorado.

    Sorry to hear about your water pump. Isn’t this the second one on this trip?

    Love your blog.

  2. September 26, 2010 4:29 pm

    Congratulations!!! You, Dora, Lil’ Pea, Mosely and Misty have finally arrived!!! …at a Walmart parking lot. And , yes,I shop there too. Never been to Pike’s Peak and it’s not even on my Bucket List–should it be?

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